I was lucky enough to be chosen by Gatlinburg CVB to go on a Cincinnati-focused blogger weekend! We got to experience Gatlinburg’s newest attractions, such as Anakeesta, winner of the Attraction of the year Award for 2018, and the brand new Ripley’s Guinness World Records! As well as the older traditions, like the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Ober Gatlinburg!
We stayed at The Greystone Lodge, they have wonderful rooms – large enough for a family to spread out, with views and sounds of the river right outside BOTH of your balconies! Seriously, this was the most spacious, clean, comfortable hotel I have EVER stayed in! The kids were in heaven! There is a heated pool with a slide, bunk beds, free breakfast, TWO balconies, TWO bathrooms, a kitchenette with a kitchen table, AND a river runs right outside your room! Also, there was covered, garage parking right outside our room! I love that breakfast is included in your stay. The location is super convenient, within walking distance to all the attractions off the downtown parkway.
We arrived Thursday night, got a good night’s rest, woke up early Friday Morning ready for a Jam-packed day full of FUN in Gatlinburg! We started the day at Cooter’s Garage straight out of the show Dukes of Hazards! This was a great way to start the day! It got our adrenaline going! It is a small track but SUPER fun!
This and the Rowdy Bear Mountain Adventure Park alpine slide – were two of my favorite activities we did Friday!
Rowdy Bear was right next to Hillbilly Golf ⛳️ which was a lot of fun!
We loved Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
The Gatlinburg SkyLift was super cool and would be even better at night!
Another one of my personal favorites was the Hollywood Star Car Museum! So many cool cars including KIT from Nightrider!
We went to Ober Gatlinburg Octoberfest for a yummy authentic German dinner and tasty German Beers! It was so fun to dance with the band! There is a ton of activities to do at Ober. Most of them are winter focused. I would plan to spend the morning/afternoon here to do them all. Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to check them all out. The kids were super bummed! We plan to go back and spend a whole day here in December!
We did end the night with a wine tasting at the #1 winery in the Smokies, Tennessee Homemade Wines! I left with 3 bottles!
Saturday, we spent the morning at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, the number one Aquarium in North America! We were lucky to get a behind the scenes, “Tails & Teeth” tour. This would be a great thing to do if it were to rain or to get a break from the cold. There is a HUGE Play Area for the kids! There are lots of cool interactive experiences like Touching a Jellyfish! I loved the the slow-moving conveyor mechanism that moves you through the glass tunnel of marine life. You literally can just stand there and stare, take everything in, and not be in anyone’s way!
For lunch, we had amazing specialty pancakes at the Pancake Pantry. Super impressed with their amazing service and melt in your mouth pancakes! The line was OUT THE DOOR and down the block. We got in in no time and were eating. I couldn’t believe it!
After lunch, we went to the Guinness World Records Museum which is right across the street from the Pancake Pantry. This is the most interactive experience we had in any of the attractions we went to on the Strip. It was really a lot of fun! You try to beat the records on games such as Pop-a-shot, ski ball, etc.
After that we were headed to Anakeesta for Zip lining, Tree Canopy Walks, Gem Mining, Shopping, Tree play houses, dinner, and to be one of the first ones to ride their BRAND NEW, Super-Fast, Mountain coaster – Rail Runner!
I recommend heading up to Anakeesta for the evening. Have dinner, smores, walk around and relax (there are tons of rocking chairs to sit in) in the mountains to get away from the loud, excitement of the strip.
Have dinner at the Cliff Top Bar! The food is AMAZING! The view is BREATH-TAKING! Make sure you try the Yee Haw Beer! *above photo courtesy of Anakeesta
You can walk through the beautiful Vista Gardens!
This would be a handicap friendly way to experience the beautiful views of the Great Smokey Mountains. It is lit up in the evenings, making the views even more beautiful. This is a MUST DO in my book!
There is something for everyone to do at Anakeesta! Ava & Scott zip-lined.
Austin and I explored the canopy walks, enjoyed the tree house play area, Vista Gardens, shopping, and mined for Arrowheads (great value for the amount of arrowheads he got), and we all rode the BRAND NEW, Super-Fast, Mountain coaster – Rail Runner!
To top off the weekend, Sunday Morning, we went on an Amazing Guided Hike of Laurel Falls in the Great Smokey Mountain. This hike was around 2.1miles, the first mile is all up hill. Not too difficult, it is paved. There is one way up and one way down. I don’t think you really need a guide for this hike, but bears are out and are active! The trail ends at a beautiful waterfall! This was a great way to end our trip! I love being outside in the woods. There is nothing like the views of the Great Smokies. I would love to go when the leaves are changing to see all the fall colors!
On our way out of town, we stopped to check out a brand new “Glamping” site, in Pigeon Forge, called “Under Canvas”. Such a cool place and fun alternative to staying in a hotel!
We had such an amazing trip! We were there 3 FULL days and there is still so much on our lists that we didn’t get a chance to do! I can’t wait to go back and explore Gatlinburg some more! I would love to check out Pigeon Forge on our next trip as well!
Have you been to Gatlinburg? What are some of your favorite things you like do you while visiting?
This was a complementary trip for myself and my family provided by the CVB and partners. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for reading!